July 2015 - fixing our great big error!






Start with a crisp line drawing that defines the boundaries of the major feather groups. Use a Burnt Umber Faber-Castell Polychromos pencil for this initial sketch. These pencils maintain a sharp tip, are less prone to breaking, are easier to erase, and make rich colors.



Using little circular strokes, lay in the base colors of the body. I use Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer Watercolor pencils.


Blend the base coat colors with a little water. This solidifies the background colors, filling the little holes created by the texture of the paper. Use as little water as possible so as not to damage the texture of the paper.



Once the paper has dried completely, create shadows on the light breast and yellow throat with Prismacolor Grayed Lavender. Use Prismacolor Black Grape to create shadows and contours on the darker upper parts of the body. These pencils are my go-to shadow colors. I use the Grayed Lavender to create shadows on white and yellow objects and Black Grape on most other colors. I often augment the base shadow with a little bit of the complementary color of the object.



As is often done with watercolor, start with lighter values and work up to the darks. If you were to have added the blacks early and needed to blend colors around them, you could have easily smudged the black details. Punch in crisp darks with Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils. Note that the white edging on the primary feathers ends at the emargination line.


Now that the blacks are applied, study the relative contrast of the body parts. You may need to deepen and develop some shadows to unify the picture with Prismacolor Black Grape. Add Deep Orange feather details with Faber-Castell Polychromos.


Begin to build up the background with layers of Faber-Castell Polychromos.


Cross-hatch layer after layer of color to build up a glowing background. Keep detail in background areas to a minimum, or it will pop forward and tend to flatten out the picture.



Building up layers of color around the legs has blurred the detail in the legs, belly and branch. Reinforce the edges and values with a Burnt Umber Faber-Castell Polychromos.


If you want to soften the texture of the Faber-Castell Polychromos background, you can blend it with a Prismacolor colorless blender. This fills the holes and creates brighter colors.